Coercive Control – supporting victims of abuse in a changing legal landscape

Tuesday 24 November 2020

This webinar is brought to you by members of the Garden Court Criminal Defence Team and Garden Court Family Team.

Date: Tuesday 24 November 2020
Time: 5pm - 6:30pm
Venue: Online  
Cost: Free
Areas of Law: Criminal Defence , Family Law

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Coercive control hit the headlines after the landmark case of Sally Challen in 2019, and the Domestic Abuse Bill going through parliament will enshrine in law the principle that domestic abuse can involve coercion or control. How have these changes played out in the day to day reality of the courtroom? 

In this seminar members of the Garden Court criminal and family teams will speak about their experiences of working with victims. The seminar will cover how they have gone about proving these experiences within a system which has only recently begun to recognise the serious nature of this type of domestic abuse. 

The impact of covid-19 will also be explored and guest speaker David Challen will look ahead to further developments on the horizon. 

Introduction - why is coercive control so topical?
Maggie Jones & Rachel Schon of Garden Court Chambers (Co-Chairs)

  • Recent Court of Appeal cases
  • High profile cases such as Sally Challen

What is coercive control?
Clare Wade QC & Rachel Schon of Garden Court Chambers

  • A new way of understanding domestic abuse - a framework of entrapment

Evidential issues when trying to prove coercive control
Clare Wade QC, & Stella Harris of Garden Court Chambers

  • Shared perspectives from the criminal and family jurisdictions

Where are we now? The Domestic Abuse Bill 
David Challen, Domestic Abuse Campaigner & keynote speaker  


Victim’s experience of the legal process 
Clare Wade QC, Artis KakongeNaomi Wiseman of Garden Court Chambers

  • The conduct of proceedings and victim trauma 
  • Taking instructions
  • Drafting Scott Schedules in Family Proceedings
  • How has Covid-19 affected victims of coercive control? 

Q&A and discussion

Signposting to help and support for victims 




Maggie Jones, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers (Co-Chair)
Maggie Jones is a very experienced family law practitioner. She acts for parents and children in both public and private law cases. She is well known for her tenacity, for working with both vulnerable and difficult clients, and for dealing with complex and messy cases.

Maggie always fights hard for her clients, and is able to deal with particularly difficult and very vulnerable clients. She works with clients from as early as possible in the proceedings, and very much enjoys working in partnership with solicitors. In public law proceedings Maggie is well known as an advocate for parents, in both care, wardship and adoption proceedings, but she also acts for children and guardians on a regular basis. Both sympathetic and tough, she is very experienced in dealing with complex cases in which there may be serious allegations of physical and sexual abuse, a long history of neglect and family problems, domestic violence, mental health problems, allegations of radicalisation, or immigration issues.

Rachel Schon, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers (Co-Chair)
Rachel represents clients in private law children applications including Child Arrangements Orders, and has experience of these cases where there have been allegations of domestic violence. She also has experience representing clients in applications for injunctive relief.

Rachel has appeared in the Crown, Magistrates and Youth Courts, representing clients for all types of offences. She is committed to obtaining the most just outcome for her clients.

Clare Wade QC, Garden Court Chambers
Clare Wade QC is experienced in all types of criminal defence work including murder, manslaughter and serious sexual offences at trial and at appellate level in the Court of Appeal where she has a successful track record. Before taking silk she often acted as leading junior. Clare is ranked at Tier 1 and was shortlisted for Crime Silk of the Year 2020 by the Legal 500. Clare recently won 'Barrister of the Year' at the Women in Law Awards 2020.

Her recent work consists of murder, manslaughter and serious violence (in the context of domestic homicide or gang associated killings) as well as serious sexual offences. Ongoing work includes gang murder and  domestic homicide as well as serious historical sexual offences. She combines excellent client care with legal acumen and attention to forensic detail. 

Clare is a highly experienced and successful appellate advocate. She advises on out of time appeals against conviction and sentence often where trial counsel have advised that there is no prospect of a successful appeal. She has been instructed in some of the most high profile appeals of the last few years.  She represented Sally Challen in her out of time appeal against her conviction for the murder of her husband. The case was ground breaking; the first time the Court of Appeal had considered coercive control in the context of the partial defences to murder. The case changed the way in which domestic abuse is viewed in the Criminal Justice system. It was widely reported and the appellate process was the subject of a 90 minute BBC2 documentary. Clare is also representing Farieissia Martin in her forthcoming appeal against her murder conviction.

Clare is a specialist on women and the criminal justice system. She is often instructed to provide pre-charge advice or to advise on one- off matters such as drafting representations.  She was on the Prison Reform Trust Advisory Group panel in relation to amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill. She has worked on Law Commission projects on the reform of the law of homicide. She is on the advisory committee for research commissioned by the Centre for Women's Justice into women who kill.

Artis Kakonge, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers
Artis Kakonge's practice covers a wide range of family law matters, both public and private, representing local authorities, guardians, parents, grandparents and other kinship carers. Artis is a family law practitioner with a specialist interest in care and adoption proceedings, having spent the past few years in local government as a senior childcare advocate at Suffolk County Council, LB Barking & Dagenham, LB Islington and LB Brent.

She represented children's services at all levels of court in complex cases involving non-accidental injury, FGM, child trafficking, gang criminality and sexual abuse. She has also managed her own caseload of care proceedings providing her with an in-depth understanding of the PLO and the workings of children's services. She has provided training to local authorities on care proceedings with crossover immigration issues, foreign kinship assessments and deprivation of liberty. 

Stella Harris, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers
Stella has always been committed to representing vulnerable defendants and routinely acts for women accused of murder and other serious violence both at trial and on appeal. Stella is especially interested in supporting women to secure their full participation in proceedings and to ensure the context of their behaviour is properly understood by obtaining supporting evidence and using psychological and psychiatric expertise.

Naomi Wiseman, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers
Naomi practices across a broad spectrum of family law areas, including care and adoption proceedings, FGM, cross-border family cases, domestic abuse and financial disputes. Naomi is ranked Band 4 for both Children Law and Matrimonial Finance in the Chambers UK Bar Guide 2020 (and has been ranked since 2015). Naomi is currently a visiting research scholar at University of Cambridge Family Law Centre.

Naomi is currently advising the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO) in relation to the Girls Not Brides campaign to introduce legislation to end child marriage in England and Wales. Naomi was also involved in an important guidance case on the intersecting immigration and family jurisdictions dealing with the protection of children against the risk of FGM where the Court of Appeal upheld a ruling by the President of the Family Division that the Family Courts are not bound by a previous assessment or determination on the risk of ‘FGM' made by the First-tier Tribunal. Read more here

David Challen, Domestic Abuse Campaigner
David Challen is a domestic abuse campaigner. He successfully campaigned to free his mother Sally Challen in a landmark appeal recognising the lifetime of coercive control she suffered in February 2019.  

David continues to speak out against violence against women, coercive control and recognising women's experiences in the criminal justice system.

David is a Prison Advice and Care Trust Ambassador (PACT) and a Freedom Programme Ambassador.

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